Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino

Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

NOTE: This Blog is still under construction!
Once again wordpress is acting weird, so we published before the Blog was finished!

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Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

It’s Thursday night and let’s go out to dinner!
Chinese? Japanese? Deli? Where do you want to go?
I don’t know, someplace different.
Okay, ….

How about the Lakeside Cafe in Encino?

We went there one time for dinner a long time ago, it was soon after they opened in the old El Torito building on Ventura Boulevard (just east of Balboa Blvd) adjacent to Los Encinos State Historic Park with a fantastic view of the lake.

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El Torito Mexican restaurant had been in the same space for years and was an Encino “constant”! After they closed, a couple of other restaurant/bar/club ventures tried to make a “go” of it and failed. And now the tenant is the Lakeside Cafe, a combination coffee house and bar-restaurant and now also a performance space with live jazz and other music.

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El Torito Mexican Restaurant

We went there just for dinner at about 6:30pm. They have Valet Parking for $3.00 in a lot off Ventura and there’s metered street parking that operates 8am-8pm everyday except Sunday. We found a spot on the street and entered through the Valet lot entrance (there’s also an entrance on Ventura).

 

The “Front-of-House” on Ventura is set up like a coffee house.

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Lakeside Cafe “Front-of-House” on Ventura Blvd – Coffee House

 

You can enter the restaurant from Ventura Blvd through the coffee house area and center room. There is additional inside table seating here away from the bar area.

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Lakeside Cafe Center Room, Host Desk Entrance from Valet Lot, Additional Indoor Tables and the Waiting Area as seen from Coffee House side

If you enter through the Valet lot you walk into the center room and arrive at the Host desk and the waiting area. There are couches, a coffee table and benches for additional seating against the wall.

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There is a side guest table as well. Would you care for some literature?

Sunday Brunch, Happy Hour 3pm-6pm, Live Jazz on Saturdays and the Catering Menu are featured on the promotional material available on the guest table, on your table and inside the menu. Quality marketing and promotion is good business (direct to customer inside the restaurant).

The Dining Room, the Bar and the Outdoor Deck Patio on the Lake

The restaurant’s dining room is open to the elements because of the outdoor seating and deck. It was a lovely evening, the doors were open, but as the sun set it got cooler, and then colder due to its location on the lake. We knew this was inevitable and we decided to sit inside the bar area dining room away from the doors when we arrived.

There was a good crowd, but it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived. They have it set up as a “cafe” with wood 4-top tables and nice chairs in the dining room. On our previous visit we sat at a bar table on tall stools and it was not comfortable. The dining areas are wide open, so it has a cafeteria vibe where you’re eating with everyone in the room. Also, there are only hard surfaces indoors (wood floor and glass windows), so it gets really loud inside even when it’s not crowded. I would not recommend trying to have a romantic dinner inside, although it might be nice place for a rendezvous outside during the afternoon or on a warm summer night.

There is a small covered outdoor deck patio, which is separate from the other outdoor seating by the lake. It would be nice for having a small private cocktail or dinner party.

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They have a very nice bar, unfortunately it takes up a lot of space in the Dining Room area, and makes the dining room part of the bar area, adding a lot of traffic and noise to the room.

NOTE: There is a DISCLAIMER NOTICE in the menu!

 

 

Outdoor Seating – Dining Al Fresco on the Lake!

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The Lake and the Dining Room Entrance from the Outdoor Seating Area

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There’s outdoor seating by the lake, which is a beautiful place to dine al fresco on a warm San Fernando Valley day or night. Be sure to read the Disclaimer in the menu though!

The Dinner Menu and Bar Offerings:

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Cocktails $12?
It’s a nice place, but they have “westside” prices in the heart of the valley!
The food was good, but their food items and drinks are expensive compared to many other neighborhood restaurants, which is probably the reason we haven’t been back since the first time we ate here. We most likely would have ordered drinks otherwise.

On The Menu: fried calamari, a Santa Fe salad, fettucine chicken alfredo and a coke

The calamari was excellent, lightly fried and crispy/chewy! The Santa Fe salad was good, but The Cheesecake Factory’s salad dressing is the standard to which all other Santa Fe salads are compared. This one “not as good”. And the fettucine chicken alfredo was tasty, but just a little bland. The thin sliced chicken and pasta was cooked perfectly, which is sometimes hard to accomplish with a pasta sauce. The service was only okay, it was a little scattered and could have and should have been better. Our entrees arrived pretty soon after the appetizer (while we were still eating the calamari), which is good for fast service, but bad in relation to “timing the meal”. Nothing to really be upset about though.

According to the literature, they have Sunday Brunch and Happy Hour at the bar 3pm-6pm. They have live music on Saturdays and they do catering too.

Here’s their Catering Menu:

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Lakeside Cafe Catering Menu

Lakeside Cafe16817 Ventura Blvd., Encino, California 91436
818-616-2430  www.lakesidecafe.com @LakesideEncino

Read our previous Blog Los Encinos Park

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Visit & Win at the Lakeside Cafe!

May Morning at Ashland Creek in Lithia Park

May Morning at Ashland Creek in Lithia Park

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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Morning in May at Ashland Creek in Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

New BLOG Posted! Sunday (May) Morning (at Ashland Creek) in Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon: http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1yg  (More pics from this walk)

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YOSEMITE 2011 – Part 3 Down in the Valley: Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Roadtrip 2011

This is PART 3 – GET READY FOR MORE OF NATURE’S AWESOME BEAUTY!!!

El Capitan - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

El Capitan – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

To view PART 1 – click this link:

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/yosemite-2011-part-1-road-trip-to-tuolumne-meadows/

To view PART 2 – click this link:

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/yosemite-2011-part-2-tuolumne-meadows/

PART 3 – Down in the Valley: Yosemite Valley

At the end of PART 2 we left off at Olmstead Point on Monday morning, heading down into Yosemite Valley, destination: Yosemite Lodge.  More pictures from Olmstead Point:

Granite Dome near Olmstead Point - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Granite Dome near Olmstead Point – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome from Olmstead Point - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

Half Dome from Olmstead Point – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome from Olmstead Point - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome from Olmstead Point – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The drive from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley takes about an hour and a half.  There are lots of places to turnout and stop along the way.  We stopped for pictures and used the facilities at a picnic area on our way to Yosemite Lodge.

Picture Point along the Tioga Road - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Picture Point along the Tioga Road – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

We arrived at Yosemite Lodge too early in the day and even though we were able to check in, our room wouldn’t be ready for a few hours.  We were given the Lodge WiFi password, which enables you to access park visitor information via your mobile device, nice technological extra for the “internet generation”.  We thought about taking the Valley Tour, where you ride around in an open air bus, but instead we parked the car and hopped the shuttle to our first adventure, just past Curry Village: the hike to the base of Half Dome and what used to be Mirror Lake.

Half Dome from the trail to Mirror Lake - Yosemite, Calfiornia (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome from the trail to Mirror Lake – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite’s most familiar rock formation, the crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor. On March 28, 2009, a large rock slide of 1,500,000 cubic feet occurred from Ahwiyah Point. The slide damaged a large area under the dome. No one was injured but hundreds of trees were knocked down and a portion of the Mirror Lake trail was buried. The slide registered an earthquake reading of 2.5 on the Richter scale.

Trail to the base of Half Dome and Mirror Lake - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Trail to the base of Half Dome and Mirror Lake – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Mirror Lake is a small, seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled most of Yosemite Valley at the end of the last Ice Age, and is close to disappearing due to sediment accumulation.

Half Dome from Mirror Lake - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome from Mirror Lake – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The road from the shuttle stop is only accessible by walking, bicycle or park transport for disabled visitors.  It’s a nice hike, and of course, wherever you go in Yosemite, carry drinking water and prepare for changes in the weather.  We hiked out to the picnic area at Mirror Lake, enjoyed the area for a time and then hike back and caught the shuttle bus to Yosemite Village.  As you can see, it was a beautiful day, and the weather was warm.  It was the Monday of the weekend after Labor Day, so schools were in session and the valley was less crowded than during the Summer season.

Half Dome from across the valley - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome from across the valley – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

We visited the Visitor’s Center, the Ansel Adams Gallery and the Village Store.  I grabbed a burger at the grill and we sat outside on the patio with German tourists.  After lunch we hiked over to the base of Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America.  It is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak.  The total 2,425 feet from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls qualifies Yosemite Falls as the sixth highest waterfall in the world.

Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Lower Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

After a short hike back to the Lodge we checked in again and got our room keys (no keycards here).  The Yosemite Lodge is basically bare bones motel accomodations.  After the flood, they took out most of the cabins, and now there are just a number of two-story motel buildings surrounding the Lodge proper and the shops and dining rooms.  It’s definitely NOT the Ahwahnee Hotel, but compared to the tent cabins and communal shower at Tuolumne Lodge, it’s luxury. Actually it’s wonderful to have a warm bed, with a private shower and toilet, after roughing it in the rain and cold.  We put our stuff in the room and then drove over to Sentinel Beach (yes there is a beach) and the less traveled end of the valley for some more sightseeing.

Sentinel Beach - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Sentinel Beach – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

When you visit the valley to fully enjoy the park, be sure to get to the less traveled areas.   At Sentinel Beach, we were almost alone, so we made friends with a Raven.

Quote the Raven "Nevermore" Sentinel Beach - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Raven at Sentinel Beach – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

North Dome - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

North Dome – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

North Dome is a granite dome and is the southern summit of Indian Ridge on the northeastern wall of Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Sentinel Rock – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Bridalveil Falls - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Bridalveil Falls – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

El Capitan - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

El Capitan – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

El Capitan is a granite monolith located on the north side of Yosemite Valley near its western end. It towers over Yosemite about 3,000 feet from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers.

Base of  El Capitan - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Near the Base of El Capitan – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Cathedral Rock and Cathedral Spires - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Cathedral Rock and Spires – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

We drove back to the lodge and had dinner at the dining hall/cafeteria.  They have different food stations and there are lots of tasty choices and the food prices reflect the vendor monopoly in the park.  I had the chicken sandwich and my stepbrother had fish.  After dinner we went back to the room took showers and got cleaned up.  Then we went over to the Mountain Room Bar and watched Monday Night Football and had a beer.

Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

It was a clear night, the moon was full and there were many stars visible in the sky.  So, before going to bed I went for a night hike around the Lodge.  After a good night’s sleep, we woke up early, grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee at the dining hall/cafeteria and hit the road heading west out of the valley.

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuesday sunrise on El Capitan - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuesday sunrise on El Capitan – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

We stopped at the Wawona Tunnel View picture point on the way out and got some great pics.

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Tunnel - Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Tunnel – Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Tunnel - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Tunnel – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The drive home was uneventful.  We stopped for lunch at a diner along the freeway and I had a great breakfast.  We hit some rain coming back into Los Angeles, but made good time and avoided the speed traps.

Driving the freeway home (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Driving the freeway home (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

It was a great weekend!  My stepbrother covered the cost of the tent cabin and lodge and I paid for the meals and gas.  We had a great time (except for the altitude sickness) and saw a lot in the short time we were there.  These are just a sampling of the pictures we took and the things we saw.  It was great to get back to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley and I’ll probably write about my previous trips another time.  If you’ve made it all the way through please leave a comment or LIKE this if you liked it.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I encourage everyone to visit Yosemite National Park, because the pictures can’t compare to the wonders of nature experienced first hand.

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Taking pictures with my Blackberry in Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

Taking pictures with my Blackberry in Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)